R.I.P.

Remembering Roxanne Lowit Through Her Iconic Fashion and High Society Photos

Roxanne Lowit holding up a camera
Photo by Chance Yeh/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

There are few celebrity photographers who become as well-known as some of their subjects over the years. As was often said over the course of her decades-long career, Roxanne Lowit most definitely falls into that category and will no doubt continue to do so long after her passing earlier this week. She leaves behind a legacy that includes some of the most well-known candid photography of supermodels, celebrities, artists and designers in their more intimate moments. Her photo of Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, and Linda Evangelista in a bathtub is as embolic of an image of the models would become known as “The Trinity” as any staged and styled shoot.

“We are very sad to say we lost a remarkable woman today,” began an announcement of her passing on Instagram. “Roxanne Lowit was a legendary photographer who provided an intimate look into the world of fashion and showed us a side of nightlife that most people didn’t get to see.”

A native New Yorker, Lowit studied art history and textile design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Upon graduating, she was quickly successful in the latter, both presenting her own designs and working with names like Donna Karan between hanging out with Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol. She painted on the side, and she began photographing subjects who didn’t have time to sit for their portraits in the late 1970s, she discovered the medium in which she thrived. Before long, Lowit was photographing names like Salvador Dali and getting backstage access to fashion shows in New York City and Paris. Her first assignment backstage came on the condition that she buy a new camera, so she got herself a 35-millimeter and a book on how to load film.

Remarkably, just a few hours after studying up on the flight to Europe, she found herself at the top of the Eiffel Tower with Warhol and Yves Saint Laurent. (“It’s all been downhill since,” Lowit once quipped.) It was the beginning of a relationship with Laurent that would last until his death in 2002 and lead to some of Lowit’s best known photos, which she collected in a book titled Roxanne Lowit Photographs Yves Saint Laurent in 2014. “I think the most memorable for me was when I was his photographer for 25 Years [of Design] at the Met,” she told W at the time. “It was the first time anybody did something for a living designer and I was his personal, private photographer for the whole thing. My feet didn’t touch the ground the whole two weeks. We just had this wonderful raport together, we liked being in each other’s company and we liked each other. From day one it was like that.”

In remembrance of Lowit, take a look back at some of the YSL moments she captured and more of her iconic photos below.

“Rub-a-dub-dub, three models in a tub!,” Lowit told W of photo of Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, and Linda Evangelista taken in 1990. “This is at an after-party for Versace Couture at the Ritz. We were all in the bathroom together with Sylvester Stallone. He was pretending to turn the water on, which is why they’re laughing and squealing.”

Photo by Roxanne Lowit

Kate Moss at John Galliano’s 1994 show in Paris.

Photo by Roxanne Lowit

Yves Saint Laurent at an “Opium Party” in 1978.

© Roxanne Lowit. Courtesy of Roxanne Lowit

Salvador Dali and Janet Daly at a restaurant in New York City on New Years Eve, 1979.

Photo by Roxanne Lowit

“David [LaChapelle] and Pamela [Anderson] are two crazy kids out on the town, on their way to the Oscars.”

Photo by Roxanne Lowit

Shalom Harlow backstage at the Yves Saint Laurent spring 1993 haute couture show.

© Roxanne Lowit. Courtesy of Roxanne Lowit

Shalom Harlow in Paris, 1995.

Photo by Roxanne Lowit

Yves Saint Laurent kissing a statue of the Empire State Building in New York in 1983.

© Roxanne Lowit. Courtesy of Roxanne Lowit

Iman in Paris, 1990.

Photo by Roxanne Lowit

A model backstage at a Yves Saint Laurent spring 1993 haute couture show.

© Roxanne Lowit. Courtesy of Roxanne Lowit

Backstage at the Yves Saint Laurent ready-to wear spring 1981 show.

© Roxanne Lowit. Courtesy of Roxanne Lowit

Catherine Deneuve in1988.

© Roxanne Lowit. Courtesy of Roxanne Lowit

Katoucha Niane backstage at the Yves Saint Laurent spring 1990 haute couture show.

© Roxanne Lowit. Courtesy of Roxanne Lowit.